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Preview: Birmingham City vs. Stoke City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Birmingham City and Stoke City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Birmingham City play host to Stoke City on Saturday afternoon looking for a victory which could take the club as high as 18th place in the Championship standings.

While Blues are attempting to avoid relegation, the visitors have been left to play for pride now that they sit 11 points adrift of the playoffs.


Match preview

Birmingham City manager Lee Bowyer pictured on March 17, 2021© Reuters

Faced with a number of difficult fixtures on his arrival at Birmingham, it was far from certain that Lee Bowyer would instigate a revival at St Andrew's during his opening four games.

However, seven points from fixtures against Reading, Watford, Swansea City and Brentford has been regarded as a major success, giving supporters some much-needed optimism for the future.

With Rotherham still possessing four matches in hand, the task of avoiding the drop into the third tier is far from complete, but Bowyer knows that two wins from the club's remaining six fixtures could be enough.

Birmingham still possess the worst attacking record in the division, having failed to score a goal from open play for almost four fixtures.

Nevertheless, back-to-back clean sheets against Swansea and Brentford have kept Blues moving in the right direction ahead of three games against several of their relegation rivals later this month.

Millwall's Murray Wallace celebrates with teammates after scoring their first goal against Stoke City in the Championship on April 5, 2021© Reuters

As far as Stoke are concerned, Michael O'Neill will acknowledge that Monday's 2-1 defeat at home to Millwall has effectively eliminated the Potters from the playoff race.

With just six matches left, Stoke need to win every game and require help from elsewhere, an unlikely scenario for a team which has failed to win three games in a row all season.

At a time when the club has had to cope with FFP issues, there are still positives for O'Neill to take from what has been a year of consolation.

However, that perception may change if Stoke do not take advantage of five successive encounters against teams sitting below them in the table.

Birmingham City Championship form:
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D

Stoke City Championship form:
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L


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Team News

Stoke City manager Michael O'Neill pictured in October 2020© Reuters

With Stoke usually operating with three at the back, Bowyer is likely to stick with the 3-4-1-2 formation which proved effective in earning a draw at Brentford.

However, changes in personnel are a possibility with Rekeem Harper and Sam Cosgrove both pushing for opportunities in the side.

Jon Toral will miss out for Blues after suffering a hamstring injury during Tuesday's game in the capital.

O'Neill could freshen up his Stoke XI with Sam Clucas and Sam Vokes in contention for starting roles.

Joe Allen is again expected to miss out with the hamstring injury which he sustained on international duty with Wales.

Birmingham City possible starting lineup:
Etheridge; Dean, Roberts, Pedersen; Colin, Gardner, Sunjic, McGree; Halilovic; Hogan, Jutkiewicz

Stoke City possible starting lineup:
Davies; Chester, Souttar, Batth; Smith, Mikel, Clucas, Norrington-Davies; Powell; Brown, Vokes


SM words green background

We say: Birmingham City 0-0 Stoke City

While Stoke have little to play for on Saturday afternoon, they do not possess the best record in front of goal. With Blues likely being content with a share of the spoils, do not be surprised to see a low-scoring draw.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a draw or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Draw/Away:data


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How you voted: Birmingham vs Stoke

Birmingham City
25.0%
Draw
52.1%
Stoke City
22.9%
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Birmingham City manager Lee Bowyer pictured on March 17, 2021
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Norwich CityNorwich41279565283790
2Watford412410759273282
3Brentford402013771403173
4Swansea CitySwansea402191048311772
5Barnsley412181254441071
6Bournemouth4019111064392568
7Reading411991356451166
8Cardiff CityCardiff4116111457451259
9Millwall411416114140158
10Middlesbrough41169164845357
11Queens Park RangersQPR401511144747056
12Stoke CityStoke411413144546-155
13Luton TownLuton40158173546-1153
14Bristol City41155214055-1550
15Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest411213163439-549
16Preston North EndPreston41146214155-1448
17Blackburn RoversBlackburn411211185247547
18Birmingham CityBirmingham411112183150-1945
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield401111184260-1844
20Derby CountyDerby411110203046-1643
21Coventry CityCoventry401012183656-2042
22Rotherham UnitedRotherham37106213851-1336
23Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds40118213452-1835
24Wycombe WanderersWycombe4189243064-3433

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